A taxi prowls the streets of Prague (illustrative image)

Prague taxi rate going up for the first time in over a decade

Rates for taxis will go up in February and rates for electric taxis will be set for the first time

Taxi prices are going up in Prague. The price for one kilometer ride in a taxi in Prague will increase to 36 CZK from 28 CZK starting in February. The price per minute of waiting will be 7 CZK instead of 6 CZK and the starting rate will increase to 60 CZK from 40 CZK. The idea that rates would rise was suggested last June.

For the first time, the new price list includes the regulation of the price of taxi services operated by electric vehicles. The boarding rate for them will be 70 CZK, waiting time 7 CZK per minute and passengers will pay a maximum of 39 CZK per kilometer. The reason for other prices than cars with internal combustion engines is, according to the material, a higher price of an electric car meeting the requirements for the performance of a taxi service. The prices are set by Prague City Hall.

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The last increase was in 2006, and taxi operators have long been claiming that the rates don’t cover expenses. Taxi drivers have protested saying that the low rates and competition from ride-sharing services have been squeezing them from two directions.

The Chamber of Deputies is now discussing an amendment to the Road Act concerning conditions of taxi operation to accommodate alternative carriers such as Uber. Taxis will no longer have to have a taximeter if they use a mobile app instead. The vehicles would use a registration sticker in place of a roof lamp. Municipalities would not be able to dictate the color and size of vehicles.

According a survey made last year by the Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, about half of Prague citizens who use a taxi have tried alternative taxis in the past three years. They use them because of lower transport costs, the possibility of paying by card or availability.

Taxis in Prague have long had a bad reputation. In May 2018, a taxi driver charged a newly arrived tourist couple 8,700 CZK for a trip from Václav Havel Airport Prague to a Prague 5 hotel. The trip should have cost some 550 CZK. Police managed to get the driver to return the money, and started administrative proceedings. A similar airport ride in July 2019 cost 7,500 CZK.

Previous City Hall administrations have tried to tackle the issue of overcharging. In April 2017 signs were put up near popular tourist spots to warn people against taking standing cabs and informing people of the proper rates. One sign warned that taxi drivers often charge more than 10 times the official rate, making it one of the highest in Europe.

In 2015, the Czech News Agency reported that one in three taxi drivers overcharged, based on spot checks made by city inspectors.

In January 2005 then-mayor Pavel Bém dressed up as an Italian tourist and was charged 500 percent of the official rate for a short trip to Prague Castle. In another cab, he was charged double for paying in euros.

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